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Living world season 1 replay current situation? Also a general look at the "living" world

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I missed a few parts of the living world season 1 back in the day. And I know that at some point Anet was thinking of finding a way to make it replayable, I was wondering if anyone knows if they are still considereing this or if it has been scrapped altogether.It would be nice to have the option to play the entirety of the story from start to finish, now you skip a large portion in between zhaitan and Morderemoth, especially if you're new.

The living world (i don't consider the story "living" anymore) was what interested me in the first place and now it's just gone, there are no big towers in zones that get destroyed of which you can still see the effects right now.If you are already thinking of having an instanced version for replayability you can make it work without that part of the story being lost.The whole thing around the living world that was so amazing to me, was the actual impact it had on the world you play in. It doesn't have this anymore, nothing changes based on the story, it just stays the same.

Just having an event outside an instanced zone with an actual impact, unlike the "current events" which are nice don't get me wrong, but they just don't have that strong impact that made the living world... well... "living", it's just some new events that seem to have always been there from the start.

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@CharterforGw.3149 said:I was wondering if anyone knows if they are still considereing this or if it has been scrapped altogether.

Near as I can tell, they never considered this seriously. I'm sure they talked about it at meetings, but I can't imagine that it ever got past an elevator pitch conversation.

added: I've pasted my research on the topic below. The tl;dr is: they looked at it, but it never was seriously considered because it would divert resources from all the other stuff they are working on, with the end result being a repeated Living Story that isn't going to live up to the expectations we have for it, deserved or not.

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"Will season 1 ever be playable? There are players like me who would love to play it and even pay for it."
wrote:It's a question that comes up a lot. I have favorite moments I'd love to play again too. But we researched it a while back and realized that restoring and updating Season 1 content, and putting it into episode format, isn't particularly easier than making new episodes. And we think the community is better served with new episodes.

I don't think people recognize just how much effort it is going to be to make a repeatable version of LS1. Of course it's possible; it would just take an enormous amount of resources. And that seems like an unnecessary distraction, given that people are already jealous of ANet diverting any resources to anything that doesn't fit their idea of a better game.

Out-of-Game, Historical Context

LS1 was designed and implemented as temporary content. It was part of a (since-discarded) plan by ANet to constantly introduce new content and gradually evolve the game, so that many existing maps would be unrecognizable (in terms of challenges, foes, etc). The idea was: much better use of resources to re-use the same zones and so much more exciting to keep adding new life to the existing world. Hence: the term Living World.

It was a great, epic idea and I wish it would have worked. I think part of the issue was ANet's implementation (they bit off more than they could chew and there were lots of scaling, technical, and reward issues to start with, leaving a bad taste in people's mouths about the concept). Part of the issue is also what we're used to: we like repeatable content. We like being able to be absent from a game, without feeling that we missed something important (reward and lore both). We like having the chance do ALL THE THINGS in the game.

LS1 disrupted all our expectations and its implementation was rough (whether flawed or just slow to get going no longer matters). And ANet, sensibly, dropped the idea and turned LS2 into repeatable content.

Background, In Game Experience

There are three aspects that made LS1 epic:

  • It was not repeatable. You had to be there at the right time. (Notice this is exactly one of the primary issues that got ANet to drop the original concept: it was both a great idea and a fatal flaw.)
  • The open-world battles were epic. Unlike Auric Basin (which has an achievement for defending the city one hundred times), getting in a single victory was a combination of great mapwide teamwork, individual skill, and a bit of luck. It felt amazing each time (compared to DS, which feels disappointing if it's not over quickly enough).
  • The instanced content was extremely challenging for nearly everyone. People scrambled like crazy to find ways to beat it. Depending on who you talk to (and how good their memories are), many would say it's comparable to today's fractals (perhaps T3-4 or less).

Final Background: To Make it Repeatable

To make it repeatable, we'd have to drop all three of the things that made it epic: it won't be dynamic, it won't include open world mega battles, and it won't be super challenging for five people. So let's presume that the only thing we can get is a facsimile of the story, told in chapters.

The original instances were designed for the mechanics of the day. They were designed to be temporary, so little thought was given to making them last. That means: they'd have to be redone, nearly from the ground up.

There were dialogues that took place in the open world, in areas that don't exist anymore (or have different NPCs, foes now). Those would have to be turned into instanced content.

The open word battles would have to be included somehow, so that's new cinematics or entirely new encounters meant to model the idea, with shorter cinematics to show the impact on Tyria.

To do all of the above requires rewriting parts of the story, rewriting the instances, redesigning encounters, adding new cinematics. All of that would need to be translated into French, Spanish, German, and Chinese. Some of the voice actors are no longer available, so ANet would have to hire substitutes (and decide whether to redo old dialogue or not -- probably not).

In short, it's an enormous amount of work to get us ... another Living Story, which some people have already seen (and can't possible meet expectations for epic-ness).

So, sure, it's possible. It's just not practical given the pressures on ANet at this time.

Developer Quotes

Without saying anything definitively about a re-packaging of Living World Season 1 (because that's the domain of studio heads to make such decisions) I just thought I would chime in as a story team lead to say that the work to do this would be a significant undertaking, and may in fact be harder to do than creating a new Living World season, given how much has changed in our pipelines since then.

A simple, but specific example is how we do all our VO, which is now in a totally different format that is a lot more flexible for us (it's how we got player VO back, as well as the ability to have characters walk and talk). Going back to those old content objects and converting them over to the new format would be weeks of work by themselves, not to mention we'd probably want to add player VO to get around the awkward way we had to tell story in that season.

I've also taken a look at what it would take to update all the story beats and convert them from using the special event UI to living in the journal and since none of those objects exist (Season 1 didn't use QuestDef's which are the objects that show up in the journal) there's weeks of work there too, as the quests would all need to be created now, and everything would need to be unhooked from the event system and plumbed into the story journal, which on some levels is starting over from scratch given how the underlying story structure is scripted. Some of the gameplay can just get ported over without too much trouble, other things rely on actions/skills/etc. that we've since deprecated for perf reasons or to address bugs, so even the idea of copying and pasting encounters isn't "free".

I don't say all this as discouragement for those who would love to see a Season 1 Redux - but I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions that the community might have about the challenges that such an effort would entail. To my knowledge this is still something that we've kept on our backlog as there are plenty of devs who also want to see us make such an investment someday. As some have pointed out, we haven't said no to this, but it hasn't yet risen to the top of our priority list given our other releases and plans for Guild Wars 2.

I hope that offers a bit more insight into this question.

@"Bobby Stein.3612" wroteTo add to Matthew's point, IF we were to undertake such a project I would like to revise, add to, or rewrite sections of that story to make it stronger (similar to how we improved the Personal Story last year). These things take time. Just including voice-over on a project instantly adds two-to-three months for recording and localization and doesn't include things like prototyping, iteration, script revisions, etc. We couldn't (and wouldn't even if we could) simply "port" Season 1 into the new framework. There would be a substantial amount of revision involved. Anyone who thinks it would be "easy" to redo Season 1 doesn't fully understand the process or the time investment. I wouldn't expect them to.

Previous Quotes by Developers on Bringing Back LS1:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/698qju/anet_we_have_to_talk_about_season_1_again/dh4oxys/ANet Ben wroteIt would [take] longer than 6 months.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/698qju/anet_we_have_to_talk_about_season_1_again/dh4uzeq/ANet Ben wroteIf things went smoothly, with the entire living world team plus extra veteran developers working on it, maybe 6 months is theoretically possible. But with old content, things rarely go smoothly. Issues pop up that you weren't expecting that increase the amount of time required. And even if it was feasible in 6 months, taking all those developers off of new content just isn't worth it IMO. We have way cooler things that we can work on.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/698qju/anet_we_have_to_talk_about_season_1_again/dh4qbi2/ANet Ben wroteone of the problems is much of the content is not instanced, and theres also a TON of bugs in that content that would need to be fixed, since our game code and tools have changed so much since then.

ANet Ben wrote

If it had been even a minor priority when this was first requested back at the start of Season 2 -- nearly three years ago! -- it'd have been done by now, surely?
Answer from ANet Ben:
That would have pushed back everything a lot. Season 3 would be behind, the expansions would have been behind, new content is a better use of developer time. I wish Season 1 had been built differently, but alas it was not.

Any chance that we as players (and surely lot of us are programmers, 3D modelers and coders) could help?
ANet Ben's Answer:
As cool as that sounds, there's a lot of logistical issues with something like that, and it would still require a lot of dev time to coordinate. Plus, more leak potential.

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